Most employers would probably be surprised to hear the CIPD’s recent claim that the UK is “the third LEAST regulated labour market in the world”. Red tape, bureaucracy and pointless legislation are common frustrations expressed whenever employers discuss the downsides of running businesses, but could it be that that the law is being used as a scapegoat or simply a convenient excuse? Perhaps we’ve all grown so accustomed to hearing the claim, that we’ve started to believe it, without looking at the actual evidence?

One point that has perhaps helped to create this misapprehension is the recent rise in the number of employment tribunal cases. However, further investigation suggests that much of this rise is due to multiple claims by individuals, the increase of redundancies in a recession, (i.e. more individuals feeling disgruntled), and the increased access to information that most employees now enjoy. Other factors, such as the rise of ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors within the market may also have had an effect but what quickly becomes clear is that any perceived increase in the burden of legislation is not to blame.

Dr John Philpott, chief economic advisor at the CIPD commented: “A balanced assessment shows that underlying problems of structural unemployment and productivity shortfalls in the UK economy cannot be attributed to any negative impact of employment regulation, but are due instead to relatively low rates of capital investment, long-standing deficiencies in the supply and quality of work-related skills, poor management of available skills in the workplace and work disincentives stemming from the operation of the welfare benefit system”, which suggests that by moaning about employment law we might be taking our collective eye off a number of very important balls. Obviously, these are issues that individual employers may feel that they can do little to influence on their own, but acknowledging them within the business community might at least start to give the politicians something to think about on our behalf.
Sussex Enterprise lobbies the lawmakers at local national and European level and would really like to hear your thoughts on some of the real issues mentioned could be dealt with and how the red tape around employment regulation, (rather than the regulations themselves), could be streamlined. We can also, through our HR consultancy service, guide you through the potential pitfalls of Employment Law, not just to ensure compliance, but also to create the best working conditions for you and your staff to be at your most productive – something that we sometimes forget is also the purpose of most of the legislation!
Call me on 01444 259239 if you need any help with any aspect of Employment Law or want to hear more about the lobbying we do on behalf of all our members, or indeed drop me a line at [email protected] or comment below– I’d love to hear from you.
Full report available from the CIPD, ‘The Economic Rights and Wrongs of Employment Regulation’